MLBAM comes down on the Yankee Universe

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The Yankee Universe is a blog run by some guys I know. It’s also the name of the Yankees’ little Red Sox Nation wannabe fanclub.  You can see where this is heading:

Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and
desist from using the YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other
Yankees Mark and any other MLB mark in and as the name of your Website,
to promote the Website, to seek advertising any other commercial
opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that
would cause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any
sponsorship or endorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB
Entity.

I’m not going to carve up this C&D letter like I did the Sizemore one the other day for the simple reason that there’s not that much silly about it. It’s a well-written letter, MLBAM is not really over the top with it, and in my legal opinion they’re not 100% out to lunch. Even if the blog has actively used the name longer, the baseball team registered the name “Yankee Universe” before the blog got going.  While I’m not an intellectual property expert, I imagine that there’s a pretty good argument against someone else using that particular name.

I’m less impressed with the team’s claim that the blog can’t use the word “Yankees” in their title in any way. For practical reasons more than legal ones. For one thing it’s just bad P.R.  You know the argument by now: the blog makes no money off of it, it’s a place where people go to get more excited about the Yankee brand, not less, and allowing them to use the name is a good thing for fandom at large. Of course, given how many other non-affiliated, team-specific blogs there are out there that have yet to raise the ire of MLBAM, one has to assume that the league is throwing this in along with the “Yankees Universe” beef as opposed to being upset about it in and of itself.

While Yankees Universe have put a non-affiliation disclaimer on the the blog and have taken down actual Yankees trademarks and logos and stuff, I’m told that they aren’t going to take this lying down. They’re talking to lawyers and will be firing back a response soon.  Stay tuned.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.